Best-of-breed’s haute cuisine: the recipe for success in the cloud

31 January 2018, Retail, Wholesale, Manufacturing, Real Estate, 4 min leestijd

There are currently some specialized solutions for every sub-process in an organisation that are actually very good at what they do. And so organizations are obviously very eager to use them. That’s only logical, but it does create a new challenge for IT. How do you establish a connection in a complex and hybrid environment containing multiple clouds? And how do you ensure security? Well here are five ingredients for success.  

When I invite my friends for a dinner, I like to outdo myself. I get the cheese from the market, the fish in a specialist seafood store, and the vegetables at the greengrocer. For finding the right wines to accompany the meal, I will ask the specialist in the wine store for some advice. Most of the time I avoid the supermarket, perhaps only going there to get some basic ingredients such as dairy products, rice, pasta, and herbs.

I find it comparable with an IT trend that I’ve seen going on at our clients - Organizations are gradually moving from a best-of-suite approach to best-of-breed. The ERP system is therefore mainly used as the basis (“the supermarket”), and then specialized cloud-solutions are added to that for every single sub-process (“specialist stores”). However, the result is a strongly fragmented IT-landscape in which one part functions on premise, one part in a private cloud, and one part in the public cloud.

I would therefore like to share with you the five preconditions for making such a complex environment a success.

1. Integration of the infrastructure

When you’re doing your groceries, you can either physically visit the supermarket or a specialist store, but you could also do your shopping online. I like to make use of both options, something which makes it hard for me to have a clear overview about which groceries I’ve purchased.

Actually, the same thing happens in organisations. There is a gradual transformation into an organisation in which multiple systems are functioning at different levels: in the private cloud, in the public cloud and on premise. But end users don’t worry about that, they just want to do their job in the simplest way possible, wherever their software may be functioning. It is therefore important to organize it in such a way that all of the locations are in communication with each other and that you can easily connect the systems to the locations.

2. Integration of the applications

Applications. These are, of course, the ingredients. Having got my groceries at several different stores, it is important that when I start cooking all the individual flavors form a whole.

If you work following the best-of-breed approach, you will end up with a proliferation of applications that’ve all been constructed differently from another. But even though they all speak a different language, a clear and structured communication line must exist between the applications. You will therefore need a flexible integration layer that connects the applications with the cloud-landscape. This will ensure that the information can be shared and adjusted in a central location. An iPaaS (integration Platform-as-a-Service) will make that possible. It will give you one central location to control the flow and also to make sure that you remain in charge of the final result.

3. Integration of data

All of the individual systems that function in your cloud have their own dataset. So how can you be sure that if you modify a client record in one system, it will also be updated in the others? How do you guarantee the consistency of the data? The answer is by using master data management as a cloak, covering all of the processes and systems. You won’t be able to do it without, certainly not if you want to make the most of the best-of-breed approach.

4. Integration of security

Organizations are now bringing in the outside world more and more. Clients can login in a special environment, partners are intensively involved in processes, and applications are functioning in public clouds. A good firewall is no longer sufficient. You have to be able to integrally control your security in order to easily detect any irregular behavior. Every digital fingerprint has to be recorded centrally. Because the last thing you would want would be for someone to disturb your dinner, wouldn’t it?

5. Integration of processes

Using best-of-suite, one single login will give you an insight over the entire process. But with the individual suppliers’ applications, it is really hard to gain an insight into the process steps that the client’s order is running through. And if something goes wrong, how will you know where to fix it? In short, you have to be able to monitor processes while having an overview of the different locations and applications. That will also give you some indication of where the bottlenecks are situated, giving you the possibility to implement structural improvements. After all, it’s always a pleasure when the various courses of your dinner complement each other perfectly.

Departments are always looking for the best there is, and so they are increasingly choosing for specialized cloud solutions. These give organisations the necessary tools and speed to react to developments in the market. But in that case, you should really ensure that you get the maximum advantages of the best-of-breed approach. Here it’s the job of IT to ensure a connection that will blend all of the ingredients and courses together perfectly into a tasty whole.

Want to know more?

Would you like to learn more about the five preconditions for cloud success?watch the webinar: 'Een succesvolle cloudstrategie'